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Major CEQA Legislation Passes First Committee Test

May 1, 2013

Lawmakers are considering a number of bills that would change California’s Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. The more than 40-year-old law guides almost all development projects in the state.

The bill garnering the most attention passed its first legislative test today. Democratic Senate President pro Tem Darrel Steinberg’s bill would streamline some aspects of the environmental law.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that CEQA does not need to be fundamentally rewritten but it needs to be updated and there are litigation hooks, contained within the current law that ought to be looked at carefully,” says Steinberg.

The bill would change how CEQA deals with parking, traffic, and noise particularly for sustainable development projects. Steinberg says if those elements meet a state environmental standard they wouldn’t be subject to lawsuits.

Very few people spoke in opposition to the legislation. The bill passed with the understanding that it may be subject to more changes.